As much as I love plants, love to see them grow and produce and do all their plant things, I’m not great at actually nurturing them. I’m forgetful, absentminded, have the best of intentions, and the worst of follow-through.

ripening tomatoBecause of this, my tomato plant looks like hell. Because of this, my tomato plant is producing tomatoes.

This is the first tomato it produced, which has been growing slowly for about a month or more now, and in the past week has begun to ripen. It isn’t huge, but it is a tomato, and (despite myself) I’m growing it on my patio!

There are two more tomatoes on the plant, one really tiny, one slightly larger. They both appeared after a particularly bad me-induced droop. I heard recently that tomato plants and pepper plants need exactly this kind of abuse to produce fruit.

jalapenos This makes sense, actually. The way plants work, they’re going to put their energy and resources into the best strategy for the current conditions. If times are good, they’ll grow. If times are bad and they are a flowering and/or fruit producing plant, they’ll produce the flowers and fruit in the hopes that the seeds will go forth and prosper, that if times are bad and they don’t survive, their offspring will. That if it is simply the location that is bad, their offspring will find more fertile ground in which to grow.

Okay, the plants aren’t thinking these things, but this is how their genes are evolutionarily designed to deal with various environmental conditions.

Regardless, my current success with tomatoes, jalapenos, and a recently forming bell pepper (again, after the severe droop!) pretty much proves the point. Take one forgetful neglectful-to-plants person, set them up with tomatoes and peppers, and you have a match!

green bell pepper